Narrative Strategies in Orhan Pamuk's Novel My Name is Red




The novel My Name is Red combines a whodunit thriller, a love story with a discussion of art, comparing 16th century oriental miniatures and Renaissance painting. With a non-linear approach to history, Pamuk presents the narrative against the background of such a paradigmatic theological context, which is forgotten and incomprehensible for the modern era. In this multi-layered and multi-centric narrative, we find narratives within narratives, labyrinths of signs and symbols. The narrative moves between two ideology of paintings, merging history and artistic creativity. The implicit discourse of the novel is medieval paintings, allegories, signs, visual codes, concepts, that the Turkish novelist applies to show the canonical discourses of oriental painting. In the polyphonic narration of the novel main thematic lines of the work are expressed: the murder, the identification of the killer and the love triangle, which reminds the story of Nizami Ganjevi "Khosrow and Shirin" at the metatextual level. My Name Is Red has 20 explicit narrators. Various creatures and artifacts come to life from the miniatures: a dog, a horse, a red, a tree, ink, death, Satan, etc. They are decorative and digressive in terms of deviations from the main theme.  A large number of storytellers serves to expand the murder in different planes. In the absence of an omniscient autochthonous narrator who sees the truth, all narrators are unreliable. Pamuk makes his narrators serve one pressing plot. Pamuk's narrators are speaking, like the storyteller `Meddah`   in old Istanbul coffee-house. To hold the narratives together Pamuk needs the reader, the person to whom his protagonists confess. Characters keep turning to reader for confirmation. Each fragment of narrative is in the first-person. The novel's characters tell a part of their own stories. The novel's first chapter is spoken by a dead man. He is a miniaturist, as he tells us, has been murdered and thrown down a well. Later the murderer kills another man, the master of the miniaturists, we hear first-hand from the victim about being killed. The novel will be concerned with finding the culprit and the motive for the murder. Pamuk builds the structure of the novel in such a way that the narration of all the narrators takes place within the framework of one main narrative flow. Multiperspectivety of focalization is a fundamental aspect of storytelling in the novel. This narrative model requires different choices and projections at different levels, and each choice potentially activates alternative viewpoints. The narrators speak to the reader as if they are aware of their existence in the novel, passing on the narrative baton creates the specific structure of the novel. Many actors create a metafictional picture of the book. “My Name Is Red” is a 59-chapter metafictional postmodern narrative with multiple unreliable narrators. The dichotomy of East and West, which is produced on the basis of the competing painting styles, fills the story with a theological discourse, Ekphrasis brings a contemplative-meditative tone to the expressive technique of writing. Considering all these factors and the complex structure of the text and modes of narration, we must say, that the narrative technique of the novel is splendid


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How to Cite

Javelidze, E. (2023). Narrative Strategies in Orhan Pamuk’s Novel My Name is Red. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE.